Director Ava DuVernay has taken her talents to the small screen with her new project Queen Sugar. The show focuses on the trials and tribulations of a young Black woman named Charley Bordelon, portrayed by Rutina Wesley.
Bordelon is a single mother who moves from Los Angeles to Louisiana to claim an 800-acre sugarcane farm inherited from her late father. The OWN series was inspired by Natalie Baszile’s 2014 novel of the same name.
DuVernay has created a diverse utopia on her New Orleans set that features a variety of women and people of color on and off the screen.
“We’re hiring… a lot of women that we know from the Black independent film space, that I won’t announce yet,” DuVernay told Reel Black at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on Tuesday.
Welcoming @omardorsey, @dawnlyen and @kofisiriboe to the cast of @QueenSugarOWN! Can't wait to work together! #chops pic.twitter.com/8fKW7jabeA
— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) January 27, 2016
DuVernay has taken bold stances on the subject of diversity, and so far she practices what she preaches. Her film distribution company Array has made splashes with its slate of upcoming films. Atlanta Blackstar reported that Array will release South African director Sara Blecher’s coming-of-age drama, Ayanda and the Mechanic and Takeshi Fukunaga’s debut feature, Out of My Hand, which should all be available this year.
Queen Sugar only adds to her burgeoning media empire.
“[It’s] the first television show I’ve created,” DuVernay said. “I jokingly say I’m getting my ‘Shonda’ on, but I don’t even know how she juggles all those shows because this show is wearing me out — in the best way. It’s a lot, but it’s fun.”
Take a look at a recent interview with the director: